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Nat Immunol. 2005 Apr;6(4):396-402. Epub 2005 Feb 27.

The autoimmune suppressor Gadd45alpha inhibits the T cell alternative p38 activation pathway.

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Gene Response Section, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The p38 MAP kinase (MAPK) is phosphorylated and activated by upstream MAPK kinases. T cells have an alternative pathway in which T cell receptor-activated tyrosine kinase Zap70 phosphorylates p38 on Tyr323. Mice lacking Gadd45alpha, a small p38-binding molecule, develop a lupus-like autoimmune disease. Here we show that resting T cells but not B cells from Gadd45a(-/-) mice had spontaneously increased p38 activity in the absence of 'upstream' MAPK kinase activation. The p38 from resting Gadd45a(-/-) T cells was spontaneously phosphorylated on Tyr323, and its activity was specifically inhibited by recombinant Gadd45alpha in vitro. Thus, constitutive activation of T cell p38 through the alternative pathway is prevented by Gadd45alpha, the absence of which results in p38 activation, T cell hyperproliferation and autoimmunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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